Robert Glaser


Honorary Degree (1984)
Doctor of Science
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


Robert Glaser has earned an international reputation as a leader in relating psychological theory and research methods to the problems of education. He has been highly effective in building bridges between experimental psychologists and researchers and practitioners in education. As a founder and co-director of the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh, his mastery of the multidisciplinary approach has won for him the esteem of scientific, educational, and governmental communities. He is credited with singular contributions to the development of a new discipline, instructional psychology, which blends elements of both psychology and education and is concerned with the manner in which intellectual competence is acquired.

Robert Glaser received the baccalaureate degree at City College of New York and in 1949 completed the Ph.D. in psychological measurement and learning theory at Indiana University. He taught at the University of Kentucky and the University of Illinois, and in the mid-fifties was senior research scientist at the American Institutes for Research. In 1956 he accepted an appointment at the University of Pittsburgh, where he holds a University Professorship in Psychology and Education and remains co-director of the Learning Research and Development Center. At the LRDC, the research team Dr. Glaser assembled and continues to lead has focused on such topics as learning by discovery, individual differences in learning, group learning, concept learning and concept teaching, programmed instruction, computer-assisted instruction, criterion-referenced measurement, adaptive environments for learning, intelligence testing, problem solving, measurement of aptitudes, and reasoning. Dr. Glaser's personal research and expository writing have been in the vanguard of the center's accomplishments.

A prolific author, Dr. Glaser has published thirteen texts and more than two hundred articles. He recently edited a two-volume series, Advances in Instructional Psychology. His work has been translated into several languages. A number of editorial boards of scientific journals have benefited from his membership.

Many honors have come to Professor Glaser. He is currently serving as president of the National Academy of Education. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto (1969). In 1971 he was elected president of the American Educational Research Association, and he served as president of the American Psychological Association's Divisions of Educational Psychology and of Evaluation and Measurement (1971, 1979). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975 and received the American Educational Research Association Award for distinguished research in education the following year. Professor Glaser received an honorary degree from the University of Leuven, Belgium, for his contributions to instructional psychology (1980), and was awarded the Thorndike Medal from the American Psychological Association's Division of Educational Psychology (1981). Robert Glaser is preeminent in applying learning theory to education. His leadership has played a major part in shaping a productive research tradition that seeks an understanding of the processes underlying the acquisition of knowledge and intellectual skills.